Back from our Sierra Nevada vacation. Most years we go camping in the Southern Sierra. We know about some special camping areas where few people venture. Those places have great views and solitude. These camping trips usually find us hiking everyday and dabble in a little trout fishing. No planned activities, no agendas, no places to see. Perfect.
This year we decided to by-pass our traditional Southern Sierra vacation and head up along Hwy 395 and spend time in the Eastern Sierra Nevada. Our destination this year was June Lake, a place I have visited many times. One could spend their entire vacation at the lake fishing, boating, and hiking. It is also a good base camp to explore many, many historical sites and recreational area. We planned on doing both as it had been 9 years since our last trip to the area. We tentatively planned to re-visit Bodie State Park, Mono Lake, Mono Basin National Forest, do some hiking in the Ansel Adams Wilderness and areas near June Lake, plus do some boating/fishing on the lake. No strict plans, just do whatever feels right at the time.
For us to get to the Eastern Sierra requires driving Hwy 395, a drive I have always enjoyed. We left at the end of June on a Friday with very sparse traffic. So getting there, in and of itself, was a pleasant trip.
Driving 395 to June Lake requires driving through the small town of Bishop, which is actually quite large for a town in this part of the state. And driving through Bishop requires the savvy traveler to stop at Eric Shat’s bakery to purchase a few loaves of Sheepherders Bread.
Oh Ridge Campground
This National Forest Service campground is at 7,600’ and is on a ridge overlooking June Lake. The lake is within walking distance or lazy campers can drive their vehicles to the beach. Many campers prefer to camp at June Lake Campground, Reverse Creek Campground, Gull Lake, Silver Lake or Grant Lake. The private campground next to Oh Ridge, Pine Cliff Campground, seems to be extremely popular.
Campers who don’t like Oh Ridge complain that too many sites are not shaded and it gets windy in the afternoon. We like sun and wind. Plus the sites are not close together like all the other options.
For us the campground is perfect.
The problem with Pine Cliff campground is this…
If you can’t see a problem, then this is probably the place for you!
Most of the other campgrounds are too close to lakes (which people seem to like), not much of a view, like Oh Ridge has, lots of flying insects in the evening, and a low hanging cloud of smoke every night from too many campfires. But that is just my opinion… I am in the minority, so what do I know?
Bears can be a problem. Each site at Oh Ridge (and probably the other USFS campgrounds) have bear lockers. If you elect not to use them or keep your food secure in your campers, that is okay — the Rangers will issue you a citation for leaving food out. Apparently in this year of low snow and bears moving to campgrounds to steal food, the campers at Oh Ridge are doing a good job of following the rules. We didn’t see a single bear.
But we did see a lot of deer. Every morning and evening we saw many deer, to the point one may be inclined to take them for granted.
We should never take wildlife for granted. Some people might say there are too many deer. Perhaps the real answer is that there are not enough mountain lions or that there are no wolves. I say lets move more lions and a few wolves into the area. Heck, let’s do it right and import some grizzly bears from Montana.
Boating & Fishing
We spent a good amount of time on the lake. You might want to read about our Mercury Quicksilver boat in this Boat Story. It seems Snoppy likes the boat, but Corky was less than thrilled most of the time.
It seems that Joyce thinks that being on a lake means lots of fishing, as in catching plenty of fish. We seem to have a communication problem.
To me a boat on a lake means rest, thinking, acting as a air traffic controller for cloud formations, counting trees on hills and ridges, and observing birds and ducks.
Bald Eagle. I guess I might need a camera with a big zoom lens?
After these non-fishing tasks are accomplished, then one can think about catching fish.
We don’t usually build a campfire. For the 4th of July we broke this rule and roasted some giant jumbo marshmallows.
So after a few days of hanging around June Lake, we decided to go visit the ghost town of Bodie.
Next to Bodie –>